October 1, 2017
Living in Manitoba Canada, it seems surreal to be able to post an October Garden Update. However, during my lifetime I have seen the frost free season extend longer and longer. I am sure this is due to global warming; however, it is hard not to like the longer season. It is October 1 today and we still have not had a frost and my garden is still producing.
We harvested part of the garden before leaving to BC September 11 for the birth of our newest grandchild Nora. We pulled out all the tomatoes and brought the green tomatoes into the house to ripen while we were gone. However, since much of the garden was still doing well, we decided to leave it until we returned.
Thanks to Charlene aka Charlie, our Workaway housesitter, for watching over our property and pets while we were away. She made good use of the garden produce and made sure the hothouse plants stayed watered. We returned this week to find we still had a bounty of produce in the garden to use and preserve.
Yesterday, September 30, I harvested:
- 3 potato plants which yielded a 5 gallon pail full of large russet potatoes. I still have lots more potato plants to dig but they will have to wait for another day.
- a big tub of cucumbers. Yes cucumbers! I pulled all the plants out yesterday and found enough cucumbers, big and small, to make 6 litres of dill pickles, 15 half litres of relish and still have a dozen or so left for fresh eating.
- a big tub of parsley which I have put to dry for winter use. I still have another big batch to harvest before the frost comes. The dried parsley will be used in soups and casseroles as well as green smoothies. Since we buy a lot of fresh greens over the winter for smoothies, I have decided to try drying as much as possible this year. I am storing a variety of dried greens in sealed glass jars and planning to use them much the same as the green powders you buy in the health food store. Drying is a great way to preserve when you are off grid and freezer space is limited.
- about 2 dozen cobs of corn. When I picked the cobs I didn’t have any expectation that they would still be young tender and sweet; however, I was surprised to find they were. We enjoyed corn on the cob for supper last night and the rest I stripped from the cobs, blanched and froze for winter eating.
- A big tub of kale. This year we experimented with growing the kale under netting to keep out the cabbage butterflies. What a huge success. We still have lots of beautiful kale growing in the garden. I harvested the large leaves off one bed, leaving the plants to grow some more. Since kale will withstand some frost, I hope to have fresh kale for a bit longer. The kale I picked made a great big Kale and Apple salad for supper and the rest I blanched and froze for winter eating.
- several squashes. The 2 big ones in the picture I pulled out before leaving for BC, but I was astonished to find so many more now. I picked a bunch of Patty Pan (aka scalloped) squash which I think I will try to stuff.
The garden still has lots more produce for eating and preserving, although we could get frost any day now. In the upcoming week I will try to get the rest off.
- lots of potatoes, carrots, and beets to be dug and put away in the root cellar
- Kale – which I will leave in the garden until a heavy frost threatens. We will eat as much as possible in the upcoming week, and I will freeze and dry the rest.
- Swiss Chard (also know as Silver Beet in some parts of the world). Since this will also survive a mild frost I hope to have this around for a while as well for fresh eating. The rest I will freeze or dry.
- Romaine – I experimented with a late planting this year and it was a total success. We come back to find it flourishing in the cool September weather. Harvesting lettuce in September and October is a first for me. If a frost threatens I will be out there picking it all and storing it in the fridge.
- Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Rosemary . I have already dried enough for winter use but will likely dry a bit more this week.
- Basil – Basil does not like the cold and any plants left in the garden are turning black. However, the plants in the hothouse are still doing nicely. This week I will make a huge batch of pesto to freeze..
- Cilantro – I planted a bunch late in the year and it is small and tender right now.
- Eggplant – We have 2 big eggplants growing in the hothouse. Another first for me!
- Peppers – There are a big bunch of red, orange and purple peppers still growing in the hothouse. I plan to harvest and freeze them. And while cleaning out the garden I found one plant hiding amongst the flowers that had a big green pepper on it.
- Green onion – the bunching onion I planted this spring is finally coming into its own and I have lots of green onion to use up.
The tomatoes we brought in before leaving for BC and now almost all red and ready for preserving. Today was salsa day and I did up 9 litres for winter. Tomorrow is tomato sauce day and the rest I will can as plain tomatoes.
So while the calendar shows October, my garden still thinks it is August! I will be busy for the next few weeks making good use of the late bounty.